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Former U.S. Surgeon General prescribes prevention for Arizona ahead of holiday season

Dr. Richard Carmona offers strategy for keeping hospitalizations low

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A former U.S.Surgeon General has some advise for keeping Arizona's out of the hospital this holiday season.

"We're all suffering from Covid exhaustion, but now is not the time to take a break. We must work together tirelessly to eradicate this virus, and the only way to do that is to be able to accelerate our herd immunity, and then the virus has no place else to go."

Dr. Richard Carmona was the 17th Surgeon General. He's now advising Gov. Doug Ducey, (R-Ariz.), and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) on the state's response to a possible fourth wave of coronavirus.

Dr. Carmona's goal is to keep new cases of COVID-19 down, and prevent virus-related hospitalizations from spiking again. During a press conference Tuesday, he said politics would not help him achieve his mission.

"People that dying while we're arguing, yet our state is divided, our nation is divided by all of these issues. We, the team, have decided that we're not gonna do that. We're gonna stay focused on what's important, that is deliver the vaccines, deliver the medications, deliver the medication strategies," said Carmona.

The doctor confessed, he has brings no revolutionary strategy to the state, but he will dedicate himself to the strategies that worked in the past.

"We are leading with the best science available, and you see just about every health system in our state here represented, and we're all telling you the same thing: practice the mitigation strategies, get your vaccine, get your boosters...talk to your primary care doc if you are sick," said Dr. Carmona.

The doctor says treatments including monoclonal antibodies and antiviral medications could be released as soon as next month. Carmona believes they'll be an important weapon on the battle to end the pandemic.

The state's top health officials joined the former Surgeon General for Tuesday's press conference. Medical leaders from across the state also appeared with Carmona.

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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director in September of 2019, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest. Her grandmother first moved to Yuma in the late 1940’s, and Lisa got her first job in TV news at KYMA in 1987.

Reach out to Lisa with story ideas and your digital feedback at lisa.sturgis@kecytv.com.

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